William Ewart Gladstone: Faith and Politics in Victorian Britain

William Ewart Gladstone: Faith and Politics in Victorian Britain

William Ewart Gladstone: Faith and Politics in Victorian Britain

William Ewart Gladstone: Faith and Politics in Victorian Britain

Synopsis

Perhaps the most eminent of eminent Victorians, a master alike of parliamentary debate and public oratory, and regarded as the greatest Christian statesman of his day, William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) governed Britain at a time when the country stood at the apex of world affairs. In this book historian David Bebbington presents a superb, balanced portrait of Gladstone-his character, his convictions, his actions, and his legacy.

Excerpt

William Gladstone, the eminent British Prime Minister and Christian statesman, embodied contrasting strengths that the modern world has largely divorced. He was both a genuine scholar and a consummate political operative, a thinker and an orator. He devoted his life to the rough-and-tumble world of parliamentary politics yet was acknowledged by friend and foe alike for his commitment to principle and to Christian ideals. He was a man of action and accomplishment, formulating many of the systems still at the heart of the British government, such as the Prime Minister’s Question Time. Yet he continually restocked his mind with fresh reading. He was a serious student of Augustine, Homer, and Dante as well as a full range of Victorian intellectuals and poets. He was both the architect of the financial machinery of modern Britain and the author of serious theological reflection. This multifaceted statesman articulated a progressive philosophy of international affairs even as he negotiated the interests of Great Britain in the starkly realistic climate of European power politics.

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